Back in 1963, a young guy named Bill Graffen took a leap of faith by starting a new venture called Graffen Business Systems, based in King of Prussia, PA.
He started out by selling dictation equipment and typewriters to Philadelphia area businesses.
Back then, his product lines—Norelco, Olympia, Smith-Corono, and IBM—were cutting-edge technologies, so Bill seemed to be moving in the right direction.
Philips was the leading dictation manufacturer; however, Norelco was the brand name that Philips used in North America.
Philips Norelco pioneered the first tape cassette recorder in the early 1960s, so Bill was selling something that business leaders were looking for.
The business steadily grew for the next decade, and the company was officially incorporated in 1972.
Soon after, Bill set up shop in a small building on Dekalb Pike in King of Prussia, PA, where clients could drop off their equipment to be repaired by a small service staff.
Norelco was also a leading electric shaver manufacturer, so Bill was able to support and sell this product line out of his new office.
In 1980, Dave Grimes came to work as a sales representative at Graffen Business Systems and developed a loyal following of clients throughout the Philadelphia region.
Several years later, Dave acquired the business from Bill and continued his fast pace in order to grow the company.
By 1993, Dave acquired a new office building in Conshohocken, where he and Brian Ross expanded the GBS product line into fax machines and office printers.
Soon after, the Norelco Philips cassette dictation product line gave way to a new, digital Philips dictation solution, which started an evolution that completely changed Graffen forever.
Digital technology required new ways of thinking about business and office processes, which included Brian Ross developing strategies for helping clients take advantage of technology.
New technology also meant a different set of employee skills and different staff members at Graffen.
IT and network engineers would help implement and support our clients’ new digital dictation software and workflows.
As you could imagine, after working on a software issue, sometimes clients would ask our IT staff to troubleshoot their computer-related issues.
Graffen became an IT consulting company by accident.
As any other business leaders may do, Dave and Brian began strategizing ways to leverage and grow their new IT support infrastructure.
Before you knew it, a handful of our legal and medical dication clients had decided to utilize Graffen for ongoing IT support services.
Fast forward to around 2010 when we began transitioning our IT Support services to a proactive and preventative model, which meant a culture change for our clients.
Most of them understood and agreed that our new 360 Managed IT Services program would allow for efficiencies, reduced risk, and predictable results.
Clients like that our help desk is able to resolve their computer issues quickly and efficiently.
Having excellent performance in this area allows our team to work on our relationship with clients.
This includes having engaging client business reviews, being involved with their short- and long-term goals, and generally being there to help make sound business decisions.
More importantly, cybersecurity has taken center stage and is a part of all formal client conversations.
We find that many other managed services providers in the Philadelphia area still don’t talk about a strategy to keep their clients safe.
It is necessary to continue developing our approach and talking points, and we hope that our clients understand that it’s a team effort.
We’re looking to grow our business relationships through trust and superior service.
Most importantly, we want our clients to be happy with our efforts, while having fun working with our team.
60 years has been quite a ride.